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Baby Makapu’u: Tidepool Fun

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Tidepools are pure magic to children and we are fortunate to live on the island of Oahu with plenty of tidepools to explore. One of our favorite things to do is to pack a picnic lunch and go to the Makapu’u Tidepools for the day. Are you in need of some sunshine and starfish? Of course you are, my friend!

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Now, I must confess that these photos were taken last April and that I’ve been really terrible about taking pictures since this particular trip to Baby Makapu’u (as the locals call it). We like to go from April-September and never after big rains. My wonderful friend, Janet, and her daughter joined us for the day and a local high school biology class happened to be in the tidepools for a field trip. The students placed starfish, sea cucumbers, and other sea creatures in clear acrylic boxes to study and then release. The students happily shared their discoveries with my son and his friend.

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Beyond the tidepools are two small islands . Rabbit Island (also known as Mānana Island), is the grassy island on the right and once had rabbits thanks to a 19th century farmer. On the left is Kaohikaipu Island (I’ve heard it called Turtle Island and Black Rock, too). Both islands are state seabird sanctuaries and home to three species of birds: wedge-tailed shearwaters, Bulwer’s petrel, and the black noddy. Since both islands are protected nature preserves, they are off-limits without permission from the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. South of the tidepools is the gorgeous, though sometimes dangerous, Makapu’u Beach Park and beyond that is the Makapu’u Lighthouse, trail, blowholes, and Pele’s Chair.

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To the east, lies the town of Waimānalo with its white sand beaches, neat cafes, orchid farms, and friendly residents. Interestingly, the very first prisoner of war taken by American forces during World War II, was captured on 7 December 1941 on Waimānalo Beach by a Hawaiian soldier named David Akui. The prisoner, Kazuo Sakamaki, was a Japanese naval officer who was the soul survivor of a submarine crash following the attack on Pearl Harbor. The submarine caught on the reef due to a malfunctioning gyrocompass and then took fire from the U.S. Naval destroyer, USS Helm. The story of David Akui and Kazuo Sakamaki is an excellent bit of history and certainly worth reading about. Click the links above, if you have time. Below is the view of Makapu’u Beach & Tidepools from the Makapu’u Lighthouse.

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Of course, no trip to the beach would be complete without toys. Caleb loves racing his cars along the rocks. Such a cutie, my little boy!

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I’ll leave you with this very informative video on Makapu’u which explains the area and the dangerous conditions while also expressing the staggering beauty of this particular corner of the Windward side of Oahu.

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